Interior Remodeling Archives

interior renovations woolwich nj living room

Deciphering the Distinctions: Family Room vs. Living Room in Home Design

Living rooms and family rooms are often considered the very heart of a home. These seemingly simple spaces are more than just another location; they allow for social connection, relaxation, and familial bonding to take center stage in our lives. But is there a difference between them? What’s the truth behind the family room vs. living room debate?

In the world of interior remodeling, these rooms are distinct in terms of both aesthetics and functionality. To effectively shape a space into its full potential, it’s essential to understand the subtle yet impactful differences between them.

Defining Living Rooms Vs. Family Rooms

While “family room” and “living room” are often used interchangeably, each has several defining characteristics that set them apart.

Living Rooms

Historically known as the “parlor” or “drawing room,” living rooms have roots in 17th-century architecture. Initially reserved for receiving guests, these spaces reflected the social norms of the time, emphasizing a certain level of formality.

The traditional living room places a focus on sophistication and formality. It’s the designated area for hosting guests, be it social gatherings or more formal occasions. Design elements often include elegant furniture, a focal point like a fireplace, and a layout that encourages face-to-face interactions.

Traditional living rooms are often characterized by classic furniture pieces such as sofas, armchairs, and coffee tables. Decor elements may include artwork, mirrors, or intricate lighting fixtures, all contributing to an aesthetically pleasing, refined atmosphere.

Family Rooms

The concept of a family room emerged as a response to changing social dynamics. Unlike the formality of living rooms, family rooms evolved to accommodate a more relaxed, informal lifestyle. This reflected a shift towards prioritizing family activities and togetherness in the home.

Family rooms are designed with the comfort of the household in mind. They serve as versatile spaces for a host of activities – from movie nights and game sessions to casual lounging. Furniture tends to be more comfortable as well as practical, with sectional sofas, cozy chairs, and entertainment centers taking center stage.

One of the key features of family rooms is their adaptability. These spaces are often more casual and flexible by nature, allowing for a variety of layouts based on the needs or preferences of the family. This flexibility makes family rooms dynamic hubs that can easily transform to cater to different activities.

Dens and Great Rooms

The family room vs. living room discussion isn’t the only one out there! While “den” and “family room” are sometimes used to describe the same space, they can have subtle distinctions. A den often implies a smaller, more private space; it is typically used for solitary activities or as a home office. It provides a cozy retreat within the home.

Similarly, the terms “living room” and “great room” are often used synonymously. They, too, differ in terms of scale and function. Great rooms are typically larger, combining the functions of a living room with other rooms — often a dining area or even a kitchen. They are open-concept spaces that serve as the central gathering point in modern home design.

Subtleties and Nuances

As interior design trends grow and change over time, homeowners are taking advantage of subtle distinctions between family rooms and living rooms that encompass the best of both worlds.

Flexibility in Use

In contemporary home design, there’s a notable trend toward breaking free from rigid room categorizations. The traditional boundaries of family rooms vs. living rooms are increasingly blurred as homeowners seek more adaptable and multifunctional spaces. This shift is a response to evolving lifestyles that demand versatile areas — spaces that are capable of accommodating diverse routines.

As such, strategic interior design has become crucial in navigating this shift. Furniture choices that balance comfort and sophistication can transform a living room into a multifunctional hub. Incorporating elements like modular furniture, convertible seating, and smart storage solutions allows for seamless transitions between uses (i.e. formal entertaining and casual family activities). Incorporating technology also adds another layer of functionality to these hybrid spaces. For example, you may choose to include a hidden entertainment system that can cater to different guests.

Regional and Cultural Variations

It is equally important to note that the distinction between living rooms and family rooms is not always universal; in some cases, cultural influence plays a significant role in shaping these spaces. In some cultures, the living room might be the central hub for all activities (regardless of formality), while in others, the family room could take precedence as the heart of domestic life.

Here along the East Coast, for instance, interior design is increasingly focused on open-concept layouts. A sense of continuity and additional natural light characterizes this layout.
Open concept design often integrates the family room with the adjoining areas, such as the kitchen and dining space, creating a cohesive living environment. This style allows for a seamless flow between different activities while enhancing the sense of togetherness.

Practical Tips for Homeowners

When it comes to creating the ideal living environment, understanding your personal needs and lifestyle is paramount. Here are some guidance points to help you determine your home’s place in the family room vs. living room debate.

Entertainment Vs. Everyday Living

First, you’ll need to consider the primary activities you envision for the space. If you anticipate frequent entertaining, a more formal living room might be ideal. For everyday family activities, a cozy and functional family room may better align with your needs.

Formal Vs. Casual Atmosphere

Reflect on the atmosphere you want to create. Living rooms tend to lean towards formality, suitable for special occasions. Family rooms, on the other hand, offer a more casual setting for everyday relaxation. Assess which ambiance resonates more with your lifestyle.

Family Dynamics

Next, evaluate the dynamics of your household. If you have a growing family or prioritize casual family time, a family room might be essential. For singles, older couples, or those without children who frequently host guests, a living room could be a better fit.

Space Constraints

Take note of the size and layout of your home. In smaller spaces, combining the living and family functions in an open concept is a practical solution. For larger homes, having distinct living and family rooms may provide specialized areas for different activities.

Lighting Elements

Tailor lighting elements to create the desired ambiance. Living rooms easily benefit from elegant chandeliers or statement lighting fixtures, enhancing the formal atmosphere. Family rooms could embrace softer, more relaxed lighting for a comfortable feel (consider recessed lighting with a dimmer switch to adjust for the activity at hand).

Color and Design Scheme

Align the color scheme and decor with the overall mood you want to convey. In living rooms, classic and sophisticated color palettes may be suitable (i.e. beige, gray, or white shades). For family rooms, warmer tones or personalized decor better reflect the casual nature of the space (i.e. red, yellow, brown, and tan shades).

Family Room Vs. Living Room Renovation Examples

ayars living room mickleton new jersey

Located near the front of the home and featuring an elegant sofa and armchairs, ample natural lighting, and not a screen in sight, this renovated living room in Mickleton, New Jersey is geared toward sharing face-to-face conversation with guests.


ayars complete home improvements family room new jersey

Renovated family room in Logan Township, New Jersey, featuring a full sectional, mounted television over a semi-custom fireplace, and more whimsical decor and design elements.


Switch up Your Space with Ayars

Ready to revitalize your living space? Here at Ayars, our expert team will work with you to create living rooms and family rooms that uniquely reflect your lifestyle. Contact us to start your renovation journey today!

A bathroom with a white double-sink vanity, one mirror, and wall sconce lights

Bathroom Vanity Ideas: A Comprehensive Guide

No bathroom is complete without a vanity. Consisting of the bathroom sink and surrounding storage (some definitions include the accompanying mirror and lighting) the ideal vanity combines functionality and style and is a crucial part of any bathroom remodeling project. With that in mind, here’s our comprehensive guide to bathroom vanity ideas. 

Space Planning

Before choosing your vanity, you need to know how much space you have in your bathroom. Measure the bathroom’s dimensions and the space between pre-existing fixtures. As a rule of thumb, you should have about 30 inches between major fixtures and walls or other fixtures. The type of bathroom will affect this number, however — you’ll have more room for a vanity of any size in your master bathroom than you will in a half bathroom. Be sure to note the electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures in the room as well. 


Your vanity shouldn’t take up an entire wall of your bathroom, nor should it be shoved and hidden in a corner. Instead, choose your vanity according to your needs. Is this vanity for a half bath, or is it a master bathroom? Will you be sharing the bathroom with multiple people simultaneously, such as romantic partners or roommates? Are you hoping for extra counter space and additional storage? 

Storage Requirements

On the subject of storage, it’s important to consider the additional storage your vanity could create. This is especially important for vanities for small bathrooms, where storage space is already limited. There are several places you can integrate storage into your vanity if necessary: 

Under the Sink

The space under the sink is a common storage choice for many homeowners. It’s often used to hold larger items, such as cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Note that not all vanities are big enough to have a cabinet under the sink. 

Vanity Drawers

Drawers are another way to incorporate storage into your vanity. While they don’t offer as much space as a cabinet under the sink, they can hold toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and other personal items. These tend to work better on large vanities, as they require additional space that may not be available in smaller models. 

Behind the Mirror

Placing a medicine cabinet behind your vanity’s mirror is an excellent way to incorporate additional storage space into your vanity without needing a larger model. While it won’t hold larger items, such as cleaning supplies or toiletries, it works well for toothpaste, makeup, and pill bottles. Note that this works best with smaller mirrors — it isn’t practical to break up a full-wall mirror for cabinets, after all.

A bathroom vanity made of dark wood, with double sinks and double mirrors

Vanity Style

Once you know the amount of space you have to work with, your next step is determining your vanity’s style. Ideally, your vanity should complement the rest of your decor — as charming as unique bathroom vanities are, that charm is wasted if they clash with the rest of your bathroom. Is your decor traditional? Rustic? Something more modern? Keep the style in mind as you select your vanity’s features. 

Countertop Material

Vanity countertops come in a wide variety of materials:


Laminate is one of the most common countertop materials. It comes in various colors and designs, is relatively cheap and easy to install, and doesn’t stain easily. It scratches easily, however, and has a short lifespan. It also can’t be repaired beyond shallow scratches. 

Solid Surface

Another popular choice, solid surface is durable, stain-resistant, easy to clean, and easy to repair. It does scratch and burn easily, however, and can be damaged by strong chemicals, such as nail polish remover. 

Natural Stone

Natural stone, such as granite or quartz, makes for a highly desirable countertop surface. It’s scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, highly durable, and easy to clean, all while increasing your home’s resale value. As a downside, it’s one of the more expensive options, both in installation and maintenance. 


Ceramic countertops are versatile and easy to replace when necessary. It’s also one of the cheaper countertop options. Unfortunately, the tiles make for an uneven surface, and ceramic isn’t very durable when compared to other options. 


A less common countertop material, concrete is extremely durable and easy to repair while providing a strong, dignified look to your counter. However, it does scratch very easily. 


Wooden countertops are a rarity, most likely due to their high maintenance requirements, low durability, and potential for harboring bacteria if not sealed properly. However, when installed and treated correctly, they can provide a uniquely rustic and beautiful appeal to your bathroom. 

Stainless Steel

As the name implies, stainless steel countertops are almost impossible to stain or burn. The metal is fully recyclable, and the countertops are easy to install. As a downside, they dent and scratch easily and can be noisy when colliding with pots, pans, and knives. 

Sink Options

Next, decide what kind of sink you want in your vanity. There are three main types of sinks:

  • Undermount: Undermount sinks are set into the countertop. They’re easy to clean and leave plenty of space on the countertop. 
  • Vessel: A vessel sink is a sink that sits on the countertop instead of in it. They tend to splash less than undermount sinks and work well as a statement piece in your bathroom. 
  • Integrated: Similar to undermount sinks, integrated sinks are set inside the counter. The major difference is that integrated sinks are fused to the counter itself. This means they’re made of the same materials as the counter, creating a seamless surface. 

In addition to these types, you must also choose between a single or double sink. As the names imply, these vanities come with either one or two sinks. Note that a small bathroom doesn’t necessarily disqualify a double sink — many vanities come with narrow and shallow options to help conserve space.

A white bathroom with a gray tile floor and a white vanity

Faucets and Fixtures

Once you’ve chosen your sink, select the faucets and other fixtures. Just like countertops, faucets come in a wide array of materials:


Brass is the most popular material for faucets. It has a striking appearance, is durable, and even has microbial properties if left unplated. The biggest concern from brass fixtures is the lead content — while low and rarely an issue, it’s advised to let the water run for a few seconds before use. The bright color of brass faucets can also clash with some bathroom styles. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel faucets, like stainless steel countertops, are highly durable and stain-resistant. They do tend to be more expensive due to the increased manufacturing difficulty, however. 

Zinc/Zinc Alloy

Zinc and zinc alloy faucets serve as a cheaper alternative to brass faucets. While they’re corrosion-resistant, they’re less durable overall. 


Plastic faucets are the cheapest faucet option available, as well as being entirely lead-free. However, they also feature the lowest durability. 

In addition to various core materials, faucets also come in a variety of finishes, such as chrome, stainless steel, gold, silver, and platinum. Make sure the finishes match any other finish present in your bathroom to create a cohesive style. 


Vanity lighting is an excellent way to add an extra light source to your bathroom. While they can work in any space, they’re an especially good idea for a master bathroom vanity, where the extra room space may warrant extra lighting. This can come in the form of wall sconces or lights mounted directly on the vanity mirror. As always, be sure to match the style to the rest of your bathroom decor. 

Mirror and Medicine Cabinet

Your mirror will sit over your vanity. A well-chosen mirror does more than just show you your reflection: it can hide a medicine cabinet, amplify natural lighting, and highlight the rest of your bathroom’s decor. Your mirror should serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose, regardless of whether or not it conceals your medicine cabinet. Combining the two is useful for saving space, but they can function just as well separately. 

Budget Considerations

The final decision maker for your vanity choice will always be your budget. As you’re budgeting for your remodel, make sure to allot a reasonable portion towards a vanity and make your choice accordingly. Remember: it may be more expensive to purchase durable materials now, but they’ll save you money in the long run. 


Once you’ve chosen the perfect vanity in your price range, the last step is installation. While you may be tempted to install your vanity yourself, especially if you’ve chosen a smaller model, it’s best to hire a professional. Not only will they ensure the vanity is seamlessly installed in your bathroom, but they’ll also make sure the plumbing and electricity are properly connected. 


Selecting the perfect bathroom vanity is a vital part of your bathroom remodel. If you need an installation team you can rely on, contact Ayars. We’ve provided our clients with reliable remodeling solutions since 1970. Our dedication to quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service means you can rest easy knowing your project is in good hands. Contact Ayars today and take the first step towards the bathroom of your dreams.

modern kitchen remodel with peninsula and open shelving

5 Kitchen Seating Ideas for Welcoming Kitchens

Have you ever wished you didn’t have to ferry dinner plates between your kitchen and your dining room every night? Do you miss out on gossip when hosting dinner parties because your guests are at the table while you’re busy in front of the stove? Does your house not have a dining room?

If you answered yes to any of these questions—or if you’re just looking for a way to rejuvenate your kitchen space—you may want to rethink your kitchen seating arrangement.

The Case for Dine-In Kitchens

There are many reasons a home might feature a dine-in kitchen instead of a separate dining room. If your home has limited space, eating in the kitchen is an easy way to free up another room for alternative use. Eating in the kitchen also means you can transport food and dishes to the table more quickly. 

The Case for Traditional Dining Rooms

As convenient as a dine-in kitchen is, there are still benefits to a traditional dining room. Those with a large family or who like to entertain guests frequently will benefit from a larger, dedicated dining space. If you dislike the sight of dirty dishes, a dining room can also put you more at ease when eating. 

modern kitchen remodel and interior renovations mickleton nj

5 Ideas for Kitchen Seating

There are many ways to seamlessly incorporate seating into your kitchen space. Here are five of the most popular methods: 

1. Eat-In Kitchen

Eat-in kitchens, also known as kitchen dining rooms or dine-in kitchens, are kitchenettes that also feature a small dining area —  a dedicated space for a dining table and chairs. These spaces give the feel of a traditional dining room, scaled down to fit within your kitchen. 

2. Kitchen Island

A kitchen island or peninsula is another great way to incorporate seating into your kitchen. If you already have a kitchen island, all you need are chairs to place around it. Be sure that the chairs are the right height:

  1. Bar height (29 to 32 inches) is preferable if there’s an elevated portion of the island for eating at.
  2. Counter height (23 to 28 inches) is the more comfortable option for standard countertop height (between 35 and 40 inches).

If you don’t have a kitchen island, having one added to your kitchen is a great investment—not only can it be used for kitchen island seating, but as additional food preparation and countertop space as well. 

3. Breakfast Nook

Kitchen nook seating takes advantage of a corner of your kitchen to create a comfortable, cozy dining space. Some kitchens have pre-made breakfast nooks with booth or bench seating, while others might only have a small corner available. Because these spaces are so small, they’re often used for quick, informal meals. 

kitchen breakfast nook

4. Banquette Seating

If you enjoy sitting in booths in restaurants, banquette kitchen seating is the choice for you. These upholstered benches can be built into your kitchen, or be brought in as a movable piece. You can place them by a kitchen island, counter, or small table to create a dining space. Banquettes are highly versatile in terms of design, meaning they can fit into almost any kitchen. 

5. Bench Seating

Similar to banquette seating, benches can be installed or placed almost anywhere in your kitchen to create a dining space. The only difference is that benches don’t have a back, so they tend to be more informal. Built-in benches also have the potential for incorporated storage. 

Revive Your Kitchen with Ayars Home Improvements

If you’re looking to breathe new life into your kitchen with renovated kitchen seating, Ayars has you covered. Our skilled craftsmen have years of experience in kitchen remodels, and our dedication to quality means you won’t receive anything less than our best. Find out if we’re the right fit for your remodel, then contact us today and take the first step towards the kitchen of your dreams. 

marbled slab backsplash in south jersey

How a Slab Backsplash Can Make a Room Pop

Let’s say you’re renovating your kitchen. You’ve gotten a new fridge, finished polishing your new countertop, and picked out the perfect accessories—but something’s still not right. Your kitchen just doesn’t feel complete, no matter how you reorganize your appliances. What’s missing?

When redesigning a room, it’s easy to overlook the walls, especially in a kitchen or bathroom where those walls might be predominantly taken up by cabinets. However, neglecting the spaces in between means you might miss out on a simple but effective way to make the room pop: adding a slab backsplash.

What’s a Slab Backsplash?

A slab backsplash is a continuous slab of material applied to the wall behind a sink, stove, or countertop. While their function is to protect the wall from water, food, or other “splashes”, they’re also very visually striking. They’re also relatively easy to clean due to the fact that they’re formed of a single solid slab. Backsplash slabs are usually made of stone, either natural or engineered, but they can also be made of glass or porcelain.

Slab vs. Tile Backsplash

If you’ve dabbled in interior design and backsplashes before, you may already be familiar with tile backsplashes. Like slab backsplashes, tile backsplashes cover the wall behind the sink, stove, or countertop. The difference between the two is that tile backsplashes are formed from a layer of tiles, as opposed to a solid slab.

There are many benefits to a tile backsplash. Using tile gives you access to a wide variety of colors, patterns, and even textures. If part of the backsplash gets damaged, you can simply replace the affected tiles instead of redoing the entire wall. However, a full slab backsplash is generally easier to clean due to the lack of seams. Dirt can easily accumulate on tile backsplashes, staining the grout and making it look grimy without regular cleanings. Ultimately, the choice between a solid slab backsplash or a tile backsplash comes down to three factors: your budget, the amount of time you can dedicate to maintenance, and personal preference.

How to Utilize a Backsplash

Slab backsplashes are highly versatile due to the variety of colors and materials available. They can be placed behind sinks, stoves, and countertops in almost any kitchen or bathroom, although they work best with sleeker, more modern applications. They also work well in places with an opportunity for material synergy: for example, if your kitchen has granite countertops, a backsplash in the same shade can create a feeling of unity.

marbled slab backsplash in south jersey

This marbled slab backsplash mirrors the kitchen countertop pattern, creating a sense of continuity and breathtaking elegance.

Slab Backsplash Ideas

Looking for ways to make a slab backsplash your own? Here are a few ideas to help set yours apart:

Colored Backsplash

While many people use neutral tones such as white, gray, or beige for their backsplashes, bold colors can have a powerful effect when used properly. Darker colors can be offset with lighter cabinets to provide fun visual contrast. Just be sure to use it in moderation, especially if it’s a dark color—if used in excess, it can make a room feel cramped and gloomy.

Porcelain Slab

Porcelain slabs have gained popularity in the past few years, and are quickly becoming one of the most popular materials for slab backsplashes. They’re lighter and more affordable than marble but can be patterned to look like natural stone. This makes them perfect for those who want the look of a marble backsplash but can’t afford the material.

Glass Slab

Not a fan of stone or porcelain? Try a glass sheet backsplash. These slabs can be painted different colors to match your kitchen’s decor or left clear to provide a glossy protective layer over the kitchen wall.

Adding a Shelf

If you want to spice up a pre-existing backsplash without redoing the whole thing, try adding a shelf. Not only will this break up the backsplash without forcing you to use tiles, it also creates usable storage space.

Add a Splash of Class with Ayars Home Improvements

If you’re interested in a slab backsplash as part of your next kitchen or bathroom remodel, we would love to work with you to complete your vision. Our intake process is as follows:

  1. Tell us about your project via phone or our online form.
  2. Determine if we are the Right Fit for one another, based on timetable, project scope, and shared home remodeling sensibilities — we want to work with people who care as much as we do!
  3. Chat with interior design consultant Sharon Vick or visit our new design showroom to get your inspiration flowing on materials and finishes.
  4. We’ll determine the timeline for your project based on the availability of labor and materials,  and show up on Day 1 ready to apply our craftsman’s touch!

We hope to hear from you soon!

ayars interior craftsmen at work painting a room

What Is a Craftsman, and Why Do We Insist?

We’ve long preached the importance of craftsmanship here at Ayars — it is our mantra, echoed and repeated throughout every phase of our practice. But how do we define craftsmanship, and the craftsmen that are its practitioners? Furthermore, why does it matter so much to us? And why should it matter so much to you when choosing a home remodeling contractor?

We hope that by the end of this post, you’ll be able to recognize what a craftsman is as clearly as we do — because the distinction will make all the difference in the world when it comes to your project.

Defining craftsmanship

In simple terms, craftsmanship is an exhibition of craft. It’s a show of finely honed creative skill applied toward something of utility, whether it be a plate of food or a piece of furniture. This differentiates it from artistry (which is creative but may not have a practical use) and workmanship (which demonstrates skill but may be merely practical).

So what is a craftsman then? A craftsman is a person with a master’s level understanding of not only how to do a certain type of work, but also a great appreciation of why and for whom they’re doing it. A craftsman has graduated beyond competency — they are fluent in their given trade, intuitive to the subtleties and nuances of every detail, and how those details impact the finished product.

A craftsman’s mentality

There is a certain set of common personality traits that produce superior craftsmanship, whether it’s in home remodeling or any other profession.

They’re committers

They are willing to invest the time and energy to develop their craft and incorporate craft into their daily routines. They are firm believers in the adage “good things take time.”

They’re planners

With that said, they’re very conscientious of the end user and result. They think ahead to ensure all the pieces are in place for them to excel in their projects without disruption or delay.

They’re students

The best craftsmen realize there is value in both tradition and the future. They seek to marry time-honored tools and techniques with up-and-coming methods and technologies. They are naturally curious and embrace being lifelong learners.

They care

Above all, a craftsman cares — about their work and those it affects. Thus terms like “superior craftsmanship” and “quality craftsmanship” are a bit redundant, because attention to detail and commitment to excellence are the very essence of a craftsman!

ayars company van and truck parked in front of south jersey home

Ayars company vehicles at the worksite

Becoming a craftsman

Becoming a craftsman requires little in the way of formal education. Only about 1 in 3 craftsmen hold a bachelor’s degree, and only about 3 in 100 have obtained their master’s. If anything, you might attend a vocational or trade school to earn a certificate or an associate’s degree.

However, it’s much more likely that you’ll undertake an apprenticeship, learning techniques and best practices from an experienced craftsman. In the traditional European guild system, an apprentice would hone his skills in hopes of becoming a journeyman and eventual master craftsman. Craftsmen’s guilds are rare in today’s United States, but many trades continue to adhere to a similar model.

In the home remodeling industry, craftsmanship most often manifests in finish carpentry — the fine, nuanced woodworking details that give a room character and definition. At Ayars, we seek to hire skilled interior craftsmen with a strong working knowledge of construction materials, tools, and techniques. It’s also essential that they have well-developed organizational and communication skills, as well as competence in mathematics and geometry.

When you combine steady hands, quality materials, precision, and know-how, a masterpiece is all but assured!

How craftsmanship manifests in our work


We mentioned earlier that a true craftsman is acutely aware of how his work impacts those around him. It is important for him to respect the sanctity of the home by leaving behind as little mess as possible.

At Ayars, we use HEPA Filter systems and ZipWalls to minimize and contain dust and debris as we work. HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air,” and the technology is capable of removing up to 99.97 percent of airborne particulate matter from an enclosed environment.

To create that enclosure, we utilize the ZipWall residential dust barrier system. The ZipWall is firmly pressed against the ceiling with a patented dust barrier pole, thus eliminating the need for tape or other means of affixation that might harm walls or paint.

bathroom dust extraction exterior view

Bathroom Dust Extraction Setup, Exterior View


Consistency begins with preparation and organization. Our men arrive at the job in branded trucks and uniforms with the same adhesives, screws, and fasteners. We thoroughly vet and approve every product we use in our work, and set up and pack up our tools and equipment in a highly systematic and coordinated fashion.

It is vital that a craftsman knows exactly what he’s working with — its benefits and drawbacks, its most desirable and undesirable applications. It is just as important that it is quickly and easily accessible so he can work with confidence and efficiency. All of our craftsmen follow the time-proven methodologies established by our project manager, Eric Haas.

Ayars work truck organization

Ayars work van organization


We are adamant that quality materials beget quality work. Sure, a master chef can make do with decent ingredients — but to prepare truly unforgettable meals, exemplary ingredients are needed. Likewise, with any home remodeling project — it requires the same time and effort to do the job right, whether it’s with subpar products or superior products. So why not invest in something better-looking and longer-lasting?

Put quality materials in the hands of well-equipped (we love Festool German-engineered power tools), highly-skilled laborers, and good things are bound to happen.

Festool power tool

Festool Long-reach Sander

Projects crafted to last

Our customers know what craftsmanship is when they see it — Ayars averages 5/5 stars on Google Reviews for a reason! That reputation has booked us through 2023, but if you want to help build your forever in years to come, please feel free to join our waitlist to be alerted when bookings open.


woodworking template

Five 2023 Interior Design Trends to Inspire Your Next Remodel

Self-improvement is at the heart of many New Year’s Resolutions; home improvement is at the center of many others. Although if you ask us, they are one and the same! After all, your home is ultimately a reflection of you — and when you enhance your surroundings, you enhance your mindset.

So, in honor of our new design showroom and the new year, we asked our project design consultant Sharon Vick to define the zeitgeist of home remodeling in the here and now, based on the wishlists of Ayars customers. If you’re resolving to remodel in the months to follow, we hope our top five 2023 interior design trends will set you on the right path.

Oak is in

finished basement bar counter

Oak has long been a favorite of furniture-makers for its resilience (one of the toughest North American hardwoods, as measured by the Janka hardness test), characteristic grain pattern (resembling rays), and versatility (it takes on wood stains very readily).

However, homeowners of the ’90s went a little overboard with the oaken aesthetic, especially as it applies to cabinetry. These golden oak-stained cabinets often showcased wider, more prominent grain patterns, and yellowish tones that were never a great match for more contemporary styles — by so declaratively flaunting their woodiness, they became almost a caricature of woodiness.

It took a couple of decades to come back around, but more and more home remodeling customers are starting to realize oak is okay again. In fact, white oak cabinets are one of the most popular 2023 home design trends. According to Vick, this is because latter-day oak-adopters have rediscovered subtlety: “Whether it be washed white oak or a cleaner rift white oak with closer grains and less yellow/orange tones, the look is now more natural and clean.”

“Oak is back and it’s better than before,” she confidently proclaims.

Stain has staying power

modern kitchen remodel with peninsula and open shelving

It’s not just oak that’s reasserting itself; stained wood kitchens in general are garnering greater acceptance. This 2023 kitchen trend directly mirrors 21st-century lifestyle trends — which continue to be go, go, go.

“The wood and stain combination is more forgiving with everyday wear-and-tear as opposed to painted cabinets, which show miters and separation within the cabinetry,” explains Vick. “Busy families appreciate the forgiveness.”

Not only that, stained wood lends an organic warmth that most of us desire in a kitchen. And as with everything else, there are more options than ever in 2023 — far beyond the glossy reds and browns of yesteryear. You might opt for a lighter or more transparent stain to highlight the wood’s natural color, a dark stain to deepen the warmth, or go with a white, blue, or silvery stain to mesh with more modern and contemporary aesthetics (without hiding the grain pattern).

Choose one stain color or mix it up. Apply it in select areas or everywhere. There are many ways to work it in, and we’re pleased to report that many of them work quite nicely.

Mingling mixed metals

master bathroom west deptform vanity

Mixing metals is an interior design trick that long predates 2023. Regardless, it’s still so widely requested that it warrants discussion. The logic of mixed metals is simple — to play up the visual interest and dynamics of a space. The execution is more nuanced but can make a huge (even if understated) impact.

“Whether it is in the lighting details and cabinet hardware or faucets, it really gives people more flexibility and helps the look last longer and not become dated too quickly,” asserts Vick.

There are two main aspects of metals that can be mixed and matched:

  1. The finish metal: This is the plating that overlies the base metal, whatever it may be (usually zinc, copper, or brass). It’s responsible for the tone and color. For example, brass and bronze are “warmer,” whereas nickel and chrome are “cooler.”
  2. Luster: How shiny the finish metal is — from highly lustrous polished metal to low-luster matte finishes.

However your mixed metals manifest, it’s important to be intentional about it. A good general rule of thumb is to strive for complementary contrast (e.g. warm vs. cool, shiny vs. matte), designating and distributing evenly and judiciously. In the context of 2023 bathroom trends, for instance, you might employ brushed metal vanity cabinet pulls down low while applying polished metal around your vanity mirror’s edge, or vice versa.

We love testing our design mettle (and metal)!

A gentler white

modern kitchen remodel woolwich nj

Echoing the rationale of the stained wood 2023 kitchen trend, today’s homeowners are embracing subtlety — even when it comes to the very model of neutrality, the white kitchen. While it’s unlikely the popularity of the white kitchen will ever wane, recent kitchen remodels have tended to be a little less white.

“I am noticing lately people don’t want that glaringly white kitchen. They are leaning more towards a more neutral, softer white,” reveals Vick. “This is proving very successful with clients whose homes are still very brown and wood focused throughout but still want a brighter, whiter kitchen. This version of ‘white’ keeps the kitchen still very consistent with their homes but gives them a more modern ‘of today’ look.”

Still open to open concepts

modern kitchen remodel with peninsula and open shelving

Our last 2023 interior design trend is another that isn’t exactly “new” — open concept home design has been steadily gaining momentum for decades, even as far back as the groundbreaking American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) or further. His reasoning was that with fewer physical walls, people would feel more connected with one another and their environments, and that still holds today.

“Open design is still one of our clients’ top priorities. Many clients want to feel included in day-to-day family interactions while having open entertaining space as well. Homework stations and meal prep areas have become the family connection,” expresses Vick.

Open-concept home design comes with the expectation of spaces being multipurpose and multifunctional, and that especially holds true for kitchens.

More inspiration

Our business has consistently trended up, and we could not be more grateful to our customers! The Ayars team is booked through 2023, but we encourage you to browse our project portfolios for inspiration and see if we’re a good fit for one another in 2024!

ayars design showroom in mickleton nj

The Ayars Design Showroom: Your First Stop for Home Remodeling Ideas

There’s nothing like walking into a newly remodeled room that looks good, feels good, and functions better than its previous incarnation. But any successful project is the sum of many parts — all rooted in careful planning and decision-making. While some homeowners will know exactly what they want from their remodel, others may not be able to articulate it, or be overwhelmed by a surplus of options.

Our endgame at Ayars is to create spaces our customers are not only satisfied with, but giddy about — we want them to experience that Christmas morning feeling when we introduce them to their new space! To ensure that happens, we collaborate closely with our clients right from the start — because until we nail the concept, we can’t nail the execution. 

Beyond our knowledgeable craftsmen, we also partnered with a project design consultant to help guide the all-important preliminary phase. This year, we’re empowering even more informed and inspired decisions with our new design showroom. We’re very excited about the value this brings, and to share that with our customers.

Why visit a design showroom?

Whether you’re a right-fit customer in our South Jersey service area or a setting your eyes on a new home remodeling project where you live, you can get much more out of visiting a design showroom than you can by clicking around Pinterest or Houzz (although these sites are great for getting the wheels turning!)

Get a feel for home remodeling materials

We strongly believe that quality remodels begin with quality materials — what we build with inevitably affects what we end up with. Few homeowners can afford the best material for every building block of your reconceived space, but choosing good materials will make an immense difference in its aesthetic and durability.

When you visit a design showroom, you can more readily compare materials by both look and feel — for example, how an engineered wood or stone product stacks up against its natural counterpart. In some cases, you (and your wallet) may be pleasantly surprised! We recommend prioritizing home remodeling wants vs. needs, and budgeting more for the room’s central features vs. its auxiliary elements. 

Ability to ask questions and solicit feedback

Perhaps the greatest benefit of visiting a design showroom is, well, designers! Who better to counsel you on the latest and greatest products, design trends, and combinations? Experts are literally standing by, and their experience and insights can lend clarity where there is uncertainty. They’ll be able to tell you what works (and what doesn’t), enlighten you to possibilities you may not have considered, shrewdly work within your budget, and intuit your needs as only a real, live human being can. We highly recommend it. 

Experience interior design in practice

What you see on a screen is not always what you get in real life — a fact that has rung true since the dawn of the TV infomercial and remains so in the Internet Age. In a design showroom, you’ll behold things as they truly are, allowing for sounder decisions (and fewer returns). The influence of lighting (natural vs. artificial, direct vs. indirect) cannot be understated, especially when it comes to color. Photoshop and your computer monitor settings can easily obscure reality. 

Beyond more accurately represented swatches and samples, a showroom shines most through its stagings. Physically standing within a fully conceptualized space will tell you a lot about how you feel about certain layouts, styles, and aesthetics. It will help cultivate not only a sense of sensibilities but also of depth and dimension. How might you arrange furniture, appliances, and decorations in your remodeled space? Again, a website or brochure cannot offer the same experience.

ayars design showroom in mickleton nj

Design showroom etiquette

Although we have just spent the majority of this blog recommending a showroom visit, it comes with some caveats. First, be mindful of the showroom’s days and hours of operation, and whether or not an appointment is required. Secondly, be prepared for your visit. While you needn’t necessarily arrive with a fully-fleshed vision for your project (that’s what the pros are for!),  it would help if you had some sense of your overall objectives and direction.

It is also a must to provide the designer with as much information as possible — at minimum measurements and recent pictures of the space to be remodeled, but also preferably photographic examples of similarly-sized spaces you like (or dislike), products/colors/finishes you’re thinking about (bring swatches), and/or reasonably portable source of inspiration. Taking these steps will culminate in a much more constructive visit. 

Visiting the Ayars design showroom

The Ayars showroom is officially open with all of the latest cabinets, samples, and supporting collateral to showcase our interior finish work.

What you can expect to find

  • Cabinet sample doors from a number leading cabinet manufacturers
  • Tile Samples, Granite, Quartz, Flooring, Cabinet Knobs/Hardware
  • Our interior design consultant Sharon Vick is available to answer questions about your interior renovation project and look at specific product samples.
  • When planning a project you will be meeting at our office/showroom to review design specifications and discuss product selections.
  • The showroom was designed to not only showcase our craftsmanship but also highlight installed products that you may want to consider in your renovation.
  • Specialty trim, Aria Vents, Updated solid core doors, upgraded door hardware are just some of the highlights to help open dialogue.

Location and hours of operation

The Ayars design showroom is open by appointment only and located at:

 409B Southgate Ct.

 Mickleton, NJ 08056

ayars design showroom in mickleton nj

The art of home remodeling 

Home remodeling design is a collaborative effort at Ayars, and putting design into practice is a point of pride for our craftsmen. For a glimpse at how we’ve translated customers’ visions into reality, peruse our project galleries — design inspiration is just a few clicks away.

finished basement cubby under stairs

Small Space Ideas for Doing a Lot with a Little

For most, space within the home is at a premium. As such, homeowners are constantly in search of creative ways to make the most of what they have, especially when what they have isn’t a lot.

Even if you do have more square footage to work with, it’s not always clear how to make the best use of it. This month, let’s talk about small space ideas and design — you’ll see that spatial limitations are no match for the imagination.

Conceptualizing small spaces

When you’re dealing with small spaces, design with functionality first in mind.

Sometimes, that function (or those functions) will be obvious — we know what we need to accomplish in a kitchen or bathroom, for instance. So if they’re undersized, our focus needs to be on flexibility and efficiency — how do we conquer clutter and organize that small space so we can achieve our essential tasks less stressfully?

If the small space doesn’t have a pre-assigned role, our first thought should be context. Where is that little awkwardly in-between spot located within the house? Unutilized niche between the kitchen and dining room? Try built-in shelving or storage for wines, spirits, or servingware. That bumpout in the living room for bay windows? Let’s build a bench into that nook to extend seating capacity for guests.

Another way to approach small space design is to play with perception. Here are some ideas to make those small spaces seem bigger. (Without sacrificing their inherent coziness and charm, of course!)


The physical dimensions of a space are defined by their length, width, and height — floors, walls, and ceilings. So how can we make them seem longer, wider, or taller? The most common solution is probably the build-in — a functional component built into the wall so as to conserve floor space. But you might also give yourself more room to stretch out by removing all or part of a wall, or installing a movable wall — aka a sliding “invisible” or pocket door and nestles into a hollowed-out wall pocket

If you have higher or cathedral ceilings, you might consider incorporating a loft or other mid-level living area to make use of the unused vertical space.

Furniture and storage

We already touched on built-ins as an excellent way to add storage without sacrificing floor space. But supposing you’d like some furniture in your space, that can also be cleverly designed to pull double duty — benches or ottomans with under-cushion storage compartments, compact desks or tables that can be folded up or tucked away with slide-out storage baskets or totes.


The interplay of light and shadow has a huge influence on how we perceive a space. We can make tight areas feel more open by distributing multiple light sources along the room’s periphery (e.g. sconces, floor lamps, directed spotlights, recessed/can lights), employing transparent or reflective surfaces (e.g. metal, glass, polished wood), and inviting in as much natural light as we can via a window or skylight .

Color and decor

Light and color also work hand in hand, affecting how we process a space visually. For smaller spaces, our goal is to draw the eyes outward so we are taking everything in as a cohesive whole, rather than in parts. Neutral tones will not call too much attention to themselves, while cooler tones tend to create a sense of distance. Darker or richer paints might serve to accent built-ins and insets, again highlighting elements along the edges rather than in the middle.

built-in angled wine rack

Small space design in action

Small bathroom ideas

Primary bathrooms and primary bathroom suites are among the most coveted remodels annually. But if you’re stuck with a tiny hallway bathroom, do not despair. There is plenty of design wisdom we can employ to squeeze functionality out of every square inch.

Sink and vanity

To fit a full bathroom into a small space, any idea will have to account for a sink/vanity, toilet, shower, and/or tub. To this end, we must design our vanities for efficiency. A floating single vanity or wall-mounted faucet leaves space for an open shelf or storage baskets while giving us the whole floor visually.

Pedestal sinks, by virtue of being slender, are also commonly employed in small bathrooms. If you’re still really tight on space, you might consider a corner sink, or at least rounding the vanity. And do not overestimate the impact of mirrors in creating the illusion of space.


In a hall bath, we’re restricted to a typical shower/tub combo, a standalone shower stall, or a standalone tub — a separate tub and shower aren’t possible, so it’s either pick your favorite or pick the compromise.

For your more standard all-in-one surrounds, shower curtains are tried and true and stay out of the way. If the tub and surround aren’t a single unit, and you have some nice bathroom tiling you’d like to highlight (or to avoid blocking a window), a glass half-wall could make sense. It gives some of the effect of a shower enclosure without the need to install door hardware.

If you are opting for a walk-in shower enclosure, utilize a sliding glass door (versus a hinged), and make your sundries accessible with built-in shower niches.

Cabinets and shelving

A floor-to-ceiling linen closet is probably not a practical idea for your small bathroom, but we can still devise some pretty nifty methods of storing our towels and personal effects. Open shelves are ideal for stacking towels or decor. Also, consider utilizing the vertical space behind the toilet, whether in the form of a ledge or a medicine cabinet.

hall bathroom with hexagonal floor tiles in south jersey

Small kitchen ideas

We ask a lot from our kitchens. We want ample counter space to prepare our meals, and plenty of cabinets and cupboards to store our gadgets and ingredients. And that’s without considering shiny appliances and seating for residents and guests. A small kitchen might not be equal to all of these tasks, but by working smarter and not harder, we can still accomplish much.

Small kitchen layout

As we discussed in a previous blog about kitchen layouts, the primary goal of kitchen design is optimizing the work triangle — the path between refrigerator, stove, and sink (food storage, preparation, and cleanup). Three layouts tend to predominate small kitchens:

  1. The galley kitchen: These kitchens are all business — counters, cabinets, and appliances all in parallel, with the home chef in the middle. Usually impractical for dine-in purposes.
  2. The U-shaped kitchen: Enclosed on three sides with one open end, offers a little more flexibility than a galley kitchen by virtue of the additional of the extra wall.
  3. The G-shaped kitchen: A modified U-shape kitchen with a partial counter extension (peninsula), allowing for bar-style seating.

Small kitchen storage and shelving

Creative storage and shelving solutions are everything in small kitchens. While we want to maximize the places we have to stow away our cookware, dishware, tools, and ingredients, going wall-to-wall and/or floor-to-ceiling with cabinets can leave us feeling boxed in and dampen the lighting and mood.

One of our favorite ways to break things up is open shelving. Open shelves expose more wall area, and if we’ve painted our walls a lighter or neutral color, will allow the room to “breathe” more. Stack or arrange your sightlier kitchen items (or decorations) on these platforms, or in a glass display cabinet.

Small kitchen seating

Try as we might, the smallest kitchens probably can’t accommodate a proper kitchen table. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re consigned to eating our meals standing over the sink. Not only are breakfast bars charming, they can be constructed so that stools can slide in towards the wall, conserving precious floor space (bench seating paired with a narrow table achieves a similar goal).

As mentioned previously, a peninsula with seating located in the adjoining room maintains that connection with the space without crowding it.

kitchen breakfast nook

Big ideas for small spaces

Ayars has long prided itself on making the absolute most of our customer’s spaces, no matter how large or small. Our reputation for clever design and careful craftsmanship has culminated in a long waiting list for our services, but we assure you it’s worth it! In the meantime, browse our project galleries for more examples of how we maximize every project.

rustic interior porch remodel in gibbstown nj fireplace

Fire Up Your Imagination for Your Next Fireplace Installation

As the days get shorter and the nights grow colder, we tend to spend more time around hearth and home. Nothing reinforces cozy vibes quite like a fireplace — the crackling of logs and the flickering of flames add a certain ambiance that your plug-in space heater cannot, which makes fireplaces a popularly requested feature with interior renovations. Even if burning wood indoors is not an option for you, fireplace installation could still be a possibility, thanks to a log pile of innovations made over the years.

Types of fireplaces

There are numerous types of fireplaces out there that can be categorized in many different ways, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s break it down by how we fuel our fires.

Wood-burning fireplaces

Timeless, classic, and traditional, wood-burning fireplaces are the stuff of romance. The open hearth is probably the most iconic, but may not be the most efficient or practical. An enclosed fireplace, or zero clearance manufactured fireplace is also built into the wall, but better at mitigating heat loss by virtue of a clear glass panel across the hearth (fireplace inserts allow for conversion of an existing open hearth fireplace into an enclosed fireplace, whether it use wood, gas, or electricity as a fuel source).

Of course, any wood-burning fireplace requires a chimney to vent the smoke and emissions, as well as a brick or stone firebox to contain the flames without igniting. Retrofitting homes for those accommodations can be a pricey proposition — floor joists may need reinforcement to support the firebox, rooms may need reconfigured to slip the chimney through (in particular with two-story homes), and the stone masonry itself is a premium material. For these reasons, they’re better suited to new construction.

For an attractive and higher-efficiency alternative, you might opt for a wood-burning stove constructed from solid steel or cast iron, which vents outdoors via a metal stovepipe.

custom millwork mickleton nj

Gas fireplaces

Gas-burning fireplaces sacrifice a bit of romance for practicality, requiring only a gas line and a venting option, whether that be a chimney or exterior wall vent. This makes them far less cumbersome within the framework of an interior renovation project, especially if those prerequisites already exist at the fireplace installation site. Either natural gas or propane can be used as a fuel source.

The alternative to the direct-vent gas fireplace described above is a ventless natural gas fireplaces. These models are manufactured to contain and filter emissions without the necessity of a chimney, pipe, or other venting option, but that convenience does come with some risk, as any sort of equipment failure could allow contaminants to breach into your home. Carbon monoxide buildup is of particular concern, so ventless fireplaces will often include an automatic shutoff feature if CO levels get too high.

Electric fireplaces

The term “electric fireplace” is a bit misleading in the sense that they produce no actual flames — instead, a heating element radiates warmth into the room while LED lights project flame-like patterns onto a screen. Many times, the visual and heating components can be controlled and adjusted separately by remote control. Some may even include speakers to emulate the signature sounds of splitting logs and crackling embers.

In truth, electric fireplaces have more in common with space heaters than they do a traditional wood-burning hearth. But if you don’t care about authenticity, there is a lot to like about them — they’re by far more effortless to integrate into your home than any other fireplace installation, and newer models offer more realistic simulations of the real thing aesthetically. There is also a lot of versatility in installation types — from freestanding fireplaces that plug into the wall, to those that are built into the wall, to others that are hung or mounted to a wall.

If you’re seeking something safe, easy, and low-maintenance, an electric fireplace could make sense for you.

Alternative fuel sources

Depending on whether you’re utilizing your fireplace as a decorative or a functional feature, there are a number of other fuel options, including fuelless (a “faux” fireplace). Here are some examples:

  1. Pellets: Compatible with enclosed zero-clearance fireplaces, fireplace inserts, or pellet stoves with specialized venting systems, pellets are a cleaner-burning alternative to wood. The pellets are a composite of wood byproducts and plant-based biomass and are inexpensive when bought in bulk.
  2. Ethanol: Yes, some of today’s fireplace options are alcoholic, and chances are you’re probably carrying them to their room. Ethanol-burning fireplaces are small, portable, and ventless, producing fleeting flames that appear to “dance” from the unit, which may be installed or mounted on a wall or neatly sit on a tabletop. These don’t heat things up too much, so buy them for decorative purposes only.
  3. Alcohol gel: Similar to above, but with a steadier and more pronounced flame. Their temperature is non-adjustable.

Anatomy of a fireplace

Functional and aesthetic components, options for styling those aesthetic elements

Depending on the type of fireplace and the venting requirements, the anatomy of the heating system as a whole may vary, and may be more or less complex. But as for the parts we can see — those that will make a visual impact on the room in which the fireplace is installed — there are but a few:

  1. The firebox: The open area in which the fire is contained, traditionally constructed from brick or concrete. They may be paneled, screened, or grated.
  2. The hearth: The expanse of floor directly in front of the firebox, again constructed from non-combustible material like brick or stone. May be raised on blocks or flush with the floor.
  3. The surround: The decorative elements surrounding the firebox, comprising the mantel (above), the legs (sides), and any inside returns that may be needed to accommodate the facing wall.

full home interior renovations logan township nj

Fireplace surround design

Fireplace installations are so coveted because of the character they add to a space, and most of that is attributable to the fireplace surround. The size and makeup of the surround will be determined by the size of the room, clearance and safety requirements, the size and depth of the hearth and fireplace opening, and (of course) budget.

Marble, granite, and other forms of natural stone will create a stunning design feature with a more permanent and built-in feel, but can be costly. Conversely, wood and concrete are more economical and can be painted. When using a combustible material like wood, there must be at least six inches of space between the surround and the firebox opening, a gap that may be filled in with cast iron, brick, or tiles. One product we really like here at Ayars is EvolveStone, which can be nailed into place like wood but has the look and texture of real stone.


The mantel is one of the more important and variable elements of fireplace surround design. For instance, we can adjust the depth of the mantel to create more or less of a functional shelf, or position it closer or further away from the firebox opening for a “floating” dynamic. Decorative moulding features that we might use on other interior trimwork could come into play here, such as cornices, bevels, etc.


If we’ve got legs, we’d better know how to use them. The upper leg of a fireplace surround that projects from the wall is referred to as the corbel, and may be contoured differently to achieve various effects. At the foot of each leg is a plinth, which helps create a stylish transition between the surround and the hearth (think of a nice pair of shoes).


On the wall behind the surround or filling in any spaces between the surround and the firebox, we may have decorative cladding —sometimes brickwork or stonework, and sometimes wood or shiplap (again, when a responsible distance away from any open flames). Cladding really helps tie your fireplace accent wall together.

outdoor living room with evolve stone fireplace and mounted television

Complete interior renovations from Ayars

A carefully crafted and properly installed fireplace will really make some eyes light up. Although Ayars is booked into 2023, don’t let your hopes be extinguished if you’re seeking breathtaking interior renovations. See if we are a good fit for one another and let’s raise a toast to toastiness for next winter and beyond.

mudroom laundry area with hangers, cabinets, convertible utility sink, and bench with stowaway totes

Folding Creativity Into Laundry Room Design Ideas

The laundry — few of us enjoy surrendering our time to it, and few of us like ceding our space to it either. But given its place in the housekeeping trinity next to cooking and cleaning, all homeowners must sacrifice at least some square footage to a laundry room, whether it is confined to its dedicated room or integrated into another.

Despite its reputation as a utilitarian space, there are plenty of surprising ways to fold structure and creativity into laundry room design, making a chore we all hate to feel like less of one. Let’s take a look at the best laundry room ideas for any size room!

Where to locate the laundry room?


In many homes, especially older ones, the laundry area is delegated to a corner or section of the basement (also sometimes referred to as a utility room).

Pros: Extra storage space, easy utility access, flood containment, removed from bulk of activity and commotion of other rooms in the house.

Cons: Lugging laundry up and down the stairs can be strenuous for some, greater likelihood of cycle signals going unheard/unnoticed.


Locating a laundry space either within or immediately adjacent to a bathroom can be highly convenient if space allows.

Pros: Utility lines are already available, and clothing and linens have a minimal distance to travel.

Cons: Potentially conflicting with the private space of other household members, noise factor.

Second story

The second story has become fashionable in recent years for many laundry rooms.

Pros: Dedicated space for laundry, typical proximity to bathrooms and bedrooms, possibility of a light-filled laundry room.

Cons: Can be a complicated retrofit if your home is not set up for it.

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj stacked washer dryer custom cabinet

Maximize space for small laundry room ideas

It follows that the more space you have to work with, the more spacious laundry room ideas you can play with. We’ve even seen those with larger homes mirror design concepts from popular kitchen layouts, including island space, decorative lighting, a large window for light, and custom cabinetry. But for those with tighter living arrangements, the focus is on small laundry room design ideas that emphasizes vertical space, economy, and efficiency over visual interest.

Let’s look at the key tasks we need to accomplish in the laundry room and how we can implement clever design features to lighten the load.

Washing and drying

The most essential function of the laundry room, of course, is to wash and dry clothing. As such, our design process has to begin with where we locate the washer and dryer units.

Front-loading washers and dryers are far more versatile than their top-loading counterparts for layout purposes, especially in the context of small laundry room design ideas. By stacking the units, we can free up a good deal of valuable wall and floor space for the design elements to be discussed in the sections that follow, such as a sink, cabinetry, floating shelves, and/or countertop.

When placing front-loading units side by side, we also have the option of sliding them under a countertop so we can fold our clothes fresh out of the dryer. For air drying, we can utilize vertical space for a hanging rod or drying rack in a small laundry room.

Pre-soaking and stain treatment

Life can get especially messy at times, so it’s highly advisable that your laundry area includes a utility sink for pre-treating stubborn stains (or hand-washing delicate items). In terms of utility sink styles, the cast iron or white plastic tubs are probably the most universal. Although a freestanding metal tub could mesh well in some settings, most modern laundry room designs ideas will include a washbasin inset into the counter, with an attractive fixture to go with it.

If you go this route, you’ll want to ensure the surrounding countertop is composed of water-resistant material such as quartz, porcelain tile, or granite — these are non-porous and thus will not warp or grow mold easily. Likewise for your laundry room flooring — always choose vinyl, stone/concrete, laminate, or ceramic tile instead of carpet as your base.

However, a nice area rug can help add both style and traction underfoot.

Storing, organizing, and sorting

A sensible storage solution can go a long way to making your laundry area less cluttered, less chaotic, and safer. Open shelving and door storage are smart small laundry room design inclusions. But if you have the budget and the space, we recommend installing cabinets to hold all your laundry products – your cleaners, sprays, detergents, wicker baskets, rags, and towels.

While these are pretty mundane items, putting together the right combination of cabinets and pulls can truly elevate your laundry room to a hardworking space on par with the rest of your house. Again, some of the more luxurious examples we’ve seen take major cues from modern kitchens — complete with backsplashes and all.

We also have to think about what we’re doing with our clothing pre- and post-cycle. Pull-out baskets and sorting bins are a stylish and subtle way of containing clutter. If your home is old-fashioned enough to have a laundry chute, this might feed directly into your hidden hamper.

Ironing and folding

For a lot of people, ironing and folding clothes look a lot like anarchy — bath towels draped over kitchen chairs, this week’s work fits spread haphazardly over a living room sofa. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.

For the most compact of laundry spaces, a countertop built above front-loading laundry machines is probably your best bet for a folding area. If you have more wiggle room to work with, you might consider a small floating countertop projecting from an adjacent wall or a pull-out laundry table that can retract within your cabinetry setup.

There are plenty of nifty laundry room design ideas that pertain to ironing as well — ironing boards that fold out from the wall, can be flipped up like a leaf on a table, or slide out from under a counter. But if you can’t go with an integrated solution, you can hang that clunky ironing board on a wall- or door-mounted storage stand, or find a narrow gap between tall cabinets to wedge it into.

A fresh start with Ayars!

Laundry can be a source of high agitation for a lot of us, but there are ways to make things a lot gentler on ourselves. Start a new cycle with Ayars Complete Home Improvements or by incorporating any of these design ideas into your home.

home office south jersey

Home Office Design Ideas To Inspire Productivity

Whether we’re still working remotely, pursuing our own enterprises, or just doing a little household bookkeeping, the home office is a place we’re spending a lot of time these days. No matter what we’re trying to accomplish in our home office, it’s important that we create an environment conducive to accomplishing it. 

Although the makeshift home offices many of us were forced to improvise in 2020 were unique and impressive in their own ways, there is a great benefit to being more intentional about your setup. This month, we’ll explore home office design ideas that promote and encourage productivity.

Where to locate your home office

Location, location, location — how you do your best work begins with where you do your best work. Do you prefer to hunker down in your bunker, or does being out in the open set your gears in motion? Some people are not fazed by distractions, while others toil more fruitfully in isolation. 

Truth is, you can create a home office wherever you can find a space for it — in any empty corner, along any stretch of wall, even in a closet. And for those of us with smaller homes, that’s often what it comes down to. Generally speaking, though, the best home office design ideas originate in places:

  1. Set apart from traffic — foot traffic within the house and vehicular traffic outside the house (if applicable). This helps maintain focus and minimize disruptions.

  2. With room to stretch out — this will reduce the sense of being cramped or cluttered, as well as allow you to accommodate another person in the office at the same time.

  3. With available natural lighting — studies show more exposure to sunlight helps drive up serotonin levels in the brain. Increased serotonin is thought to decrease anxiety and elevate mood.

Given these factors, some of the better locations to remodel into a home office are:

  • A spare second-story bedroom — preferably in a corner or at the end of a hallway.

  • A dedicated home addition — some will even convert a porch enclosure into a workspace to take advantage of the fresh air, light, and natural surroundings of a backyard.

  • A section of finished basement — there are few places roomier or more insulated from distraction than this.

finished basement closet space

How to lay out your home office

After choosing where to locate your home office, we should have a better idea of how to lay it out. 

Where do I put my desk?

First, you’ll want to orient your desk toward some kind of focal point, whether it be a window, door, or a decorative wall or feature. This can aid in focus and concentration, and will give your eyes a nice break from your computer screen(s). Obviously, too, your desk will have to be located near an outlet to plug in all your equipment. Utilize fabric cord covers, desk grommets, and floor cord winders, tubing, and wire organizers to avoid technology 

How do I make my area more comfortable?

Next, you’ll want to think about accessibility and comfort— can you get in and out of the area easily? Reach everything you need to without stress or strain? If you meet with clients, is there enough room for another person or people to sit? Without a modicum of comfort, it’s hard to expect a shred of productivity. (On that note, find yourself an ergonomic desk chair and consider a standing desk converter.)

How do I stay organized?

Last but definitely not least is finding an organization and storage solution that works for you. Many of us would love to be surrounded by gorgeous custom millwork, to have built-in bookshelves just a swivel of our desk chair away. But there are plenty of other options, from floating shelves to baskets to file organizers to cube storage. The important thing is that what you need for the tasks at hand are quickly locatable and everything else is neatly and logically tucked away. 

Choosing your home office aesthetic

Now that we’ve covered home office layouts, it’s time for the fun part — to visualize and implement the aesthetics. 

Generally speaking, your interior design directive is not to deviate too much from the rest of the house. If you have a more traditionally styled home, then follow more traditional aesthetics — warmer tones, natural materials like wood and leather, and softer textures. If you own a more contemporary home, then you might emphasize metal and glass more, play with interesting geometric shapes or lines, or incorporate a gallery wall.

Really, though, it comes down to personal preference. If calm and subdued better suits your mood, then your work area should reflect that. If funky and eclectic sparks your creative muse, then go with that. 

A word about lighting

As we discussed in a previous blog about kitchen lighting layouts, the way you illuminate your space has important roles in both its form and function. Use ambient lighting (such as recessed or can lights in the ceiling) on dimmers to regulate the overall brightness and vibe, and task lighting where work is being done (such as a desk lamp or a pendant over a drafting table). If you have the option to incorporate more natural light into the area, such as a glass wall, picture window, skylight, or French door, take advantage.

Custom home offices with Ayars

Whether you have an idea for a home office design ready for development or have yet to reach the drafting stage, Ayars Complete Home Improvements is here to help. We are confident that after meeting with your home’s board of directors and discussing our options, we can arrive at a beautiful executive decision. 

Home Renovations vs. Remodels: What’s the Difference?

To the average person, the terms “home renovation” and “home remodel” are synonymous with one another. But among those of us in the industry, they mean distinctly different things. How do we distinguish renovations vs. remodels? In the simplest sense, a renovation is a refresh whereas remodeling implies reinvention.

If you’re considering a home improvement project in the near future, read ahead to learn more in-depth about what each of these categories might entail. 

What does a home renovation entail?

When contractors discuss home renovations, we are usually discussing the kinds of tasks that we can knock out fairly quickly and easily. That’s because renovations are just updates or repairs to what already exists — we are not reinventing or reconfiguring a space, just making it look and feel better to be in. As such, the bones (walls, ceilings, etc.) and guts (wiring, plumbing, ductwork) of the house can stay just where they are. This keeps the labor and material costs of most renovation projects comparatively lower vs. remodeling projects. In fact, if you are handy, many common home renovation projects can be tackled alone or with a few pairs of helping hands. 

Because home renovation does not involve wholesale structural or layout changes, you usually do not have to secure building permits prior to beginning work. Notable exceptions to this include roof replacement/repair (as damaged or improperly installed roofs can be highly detrimental to the entire home’s structure) and historical renovations (as jurisdictions may have very specific requirements as to how and what kind of updates can be made, particularly if a home is on the National Register of Historic Places) .

Home renovation examples

  • Painting, wallpaper, interior moulding or trim
  • Refacing cabinets or replacing cabinet hardware/door pulls
  • Swapping out light fixtures
  • Window or door replacement
  • New roof or siding 
  • Replacing or resurfacing floors
  • Updating appliances 

finish carpentry interior molding

What does home remodeling entail?

Home remodeling involves sweeping changes to a space beyond aesthetic updates — it is a reimagining of how that space is configured, structured, or functions. It is not necessarily a total repurposing — for example, a kitchen can remain a kitchen, but a remodeled kitchen will have a reconfigured layout (for example, suppose it’s opened up and connected with an adjoining dining room) whereas a renovated kitchen could be nothing more than a new countertop or backsplash

Because home remodeling often entails significantly modifying a structure (especially in the case of home additions), it’s often required by law to obtain permits and the more complicated work will necessitate more experienced laborers and craftspeople to complete. It’s a good idea to do your research beforehand and choose a reputable home remodeling contractor before investing in a project, as there is often considerably more expense compared to a renovation depending on the project size and scope. 

Home remodeling examples

  • Combining or splitting rooms
  • Removing walls
  • Raising ceilings
  • Installing a kitchen island or altering a kitchen layout
  • Adding an addition
  • Finishing a basement

When to opt for renovation vs. remodeling

There are a few major questions to answer when considering when to opt for renovation vs. when to opt for remodeling:

  1. What is your budget?
  2. How long do you intend to stay in the house?
  3. Is the room or space in question not serving its intended function adequately or adding to your stress, or are you just bored with it?

As a general rule, if you know for sure you are moving at some point in the near future, smaller-scale renovations and updates generally have a higher short-term return on investment and will add to your home’s resale value. Even if you aren’t planning a move any time soon, a quick refresh can leave you feeling better about what you have.

If you do plan on sticking around a while, or a certain aspect of your home is making day-to-day existence more challenging to the point of frustration, then you might consider pivoting to a remodeling mentality — even more so if you have the budget for it. 

Home remodeling experts at Ayars

If you find yourself in the latter category, the home remodeling experts at Ayars possess the craftsmanship and know-how to realize your ideas from concept to execution. Get in touch with us to see if we are a good fit

custom millwork fireplace

Set Your Interior Style with Moulding Profiles

Do your interior spaces seem flat and characterless? If so, interior trim — aka interior moulding or millwork — can inject some much-needed personality and depth. Trim helps outline and frame key visual and functional elements within a room, making them pop and stand out. 

When shopping for interior trim, you’ll often be presented with various moulding profiles to choose from. This refers to the cuts, contouring, and detailing imparted into the trim to give it a unique look and feel. Moulding profiles range from subtle and understated to some truly eye-catching and ornate designs, calling attention to themselves of their own accord.

Before we get into a few common moulding profiles, let’s brush up on interior millwork and its component parts. 

What is interior millwork?

When we talk about interior millwork, we’re talking about items traditionally fashioned by carpenters in a sawmill. Before the introduction of synthetic materials in the mid-20th century, millwork was exclusively constructed from pure, unadulterated lumber. However, in recent decades the term has become inclusive of materials like MDF (medium-density fiberboard), composites, particle board, and fiberglass. For the purist, though, millwork is still wooden. 

Home remodelers can either opt for mass-produced stock millwork to cut costs or customized architectural millwork to really nail down a particular look, depending on their goals. Custom milling is often employed in older homes and historical restoration projects. 

Types of interior mouldings

The types of interior mouldings are classified by their positioning within a room — what they accent, border, or adjoin. Let’s start from the floor and make our way up.

Shoe moulding, baseboards, and base caps

As their name indicates, baseboards are wide, flat boards that run along the base of the wall. The shoe moulding is a rounded piece of wood that forms a “shoe” at the foot of the baseboard, covering up the joint between the floor and the baseboard. For a bit of added flair, a base cap can be fitted along the top edge of the baseboard. 

Wainscoting and chair rails

Wainscoting is decorative wooden paneling covering some portion of a wall — usually just the lower half, although it can stretch higher in some instances. A chair rail is a narrow piece of horizontal trim traditionally used to protect walls from the ravages of chair backs. Chair rails can be used on their own or as a topper for wainscoting, visually separating the upper and lower wall. 

Door and window framing elements

Door and window framing is most often thought of as functional (securing the door or window into place, sealing off gaps), but with the right moulding profile, it can be quite artful as well.

  • Jambs — Flat boards that either run along the sides of doors and windows vertically (side jambs) or along the tops horizontally (head jambs), creating a finished look.
  • Casings — Narrower trim pieces that cover the gaps between the rough opening in the wall and the installed window or door.
  • Stool and apron — The stool is the shelflike board perched atop a windowsill, the apron is horizontal trim that sits below it. 
  • Grilles — Gridlike framing element that creates the effect of smaller, individualized window panes. When it’s not just for show and the glazing is actually divided, they’re called muntins
  • Plinth blocks — Thick footer blocks flanking a doorway on either side. They slide in between the baseboard and side casing.

Railings and banisters

Not just for holding onto while going up or down the stairs, railings and banisters can also become the focal point of your foyer. 


Frame the fireplace in style, with a shelf for decorations and keepsakes.

Crown mouldings 

Crown moulding is a wide trim element installed along the upper perimeter of the room, tapering in from the ceiling to the wall. It can be combined with other accents to create truly elegant effects.


Millwork can also give new dimensions to ceilings. A tray ceiling creates the effect of an inverted tray, with trim pieces forming a lip around the recessed center portion. Coffered ceilings offer even more elaborate effects by using trim to divide the ceiling up into recessed geometric patterns.

sewell nj interior trim and molding

Popular moulding profiles

Here are a couple of popular lines of moulding profiles from our friends at Kuiken Brothers in New Jersey.


Taking cues from American homes of the 18th and 19th century, these moulding profiles draw from the Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Colonial Revival, and Traditional Revival architectural styles of early American history, teeming with fine details and embellishments.

Modern Craftsman

Craftsman-style homes were enormously popular in the early 20th century, emphasizing cleaner, straighter lines with fewer curves and outcroppings. Moulding profiles of this nature would suit someone looking to add more subdued dignity to their home.

Complete home renovations from Ayars

If you live in South Jersey and are looking to distinguish your interior spaces, the Ayars team has the craftsmen on staff to do it, and the materials suppliers to support it. Reach out to us to learn how we can take your interior from ordinary to extraordinary with complete home renovations

front porch and siding remodel

How to Increase Home Value in 2021

People often fantasize about finding their “forever home,” but what they should be daydreaming about is ways to increase home value — particularly those with a high return on investment (ROI). A National Association of Realtors study showed that the median time span between a home purchase and a home sale was around 9 years — far short of “forever.” 

How you approach a remodel or renovation depends on your long-term goals — do you plan on sticking around a while (5 years or more), or is your current residence just a stop along the way? It doesn’t make sense to delve into a highly involved, low-ROI project if you won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of that labor (and recoup those costs yourself). Conversely, a simpler, high ROI project will yield greater dividends over a shorter period of time — consistent with a seller’s mentality.

The Cost vs. Value Report for Home Remodeling Projects

So what are the best ways to increase home value then? The answer can vary from year to year and region to region, which can make it hard to know where to start. Thankfully, the Cost vs. Value report published annually by Remodeling magazine helps keep things straight. The report compares the average cost of 22 popular remodeling projects with the value they retain at resale across 101 U.S. markets — in our case the Middle Atlantic and more specifically Philadelphia (right across the Delaware River). 

Compared to 2019, the costs of nearly all project types went up while the perceived value dipped. It’s important to note, however, that there are many factors that figure into the numbers — such as the condition of the rest of the house wherein the project is taking place, the economic health of the surrounding region and home values within the neighborhood, and the fact that many projects come with some sort of tradeoff. A solution you’re creating for yourself may actually be problematic for a prospective buyer. 

For instance, say you absorb the walk-in closet or spare bedroom beside your master bedroom to create a luxury master bath. Yes, certain buyers may appreciate the beauty and indulgence of that reimagined space, but the loss of an additional bedroom may be a dealbreaker for buyers with growing families. This is why we see such variances from region to region (e.g. a population heavy with single young professionals vs. families) 

Three popular remodeling projects (and their ROIs)

In South Jersey and across America, kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects were among the most coveted in 2020. Home Advisor’s annual State of Home Spending Report polled 5,000 Americans about their home improvement spending habits, and kitchens (22.6% of respondents) and bathrooms (30.9%) both ranked within the top 5 most popular. On average, people spent $745 more than the previous year on home improvement — a byproduct of higher prices and a lot more time spent at home due to the pandemic. All that stress had some Ayars customers wanting to retreat into a beautifully appointed new master suite.

Kitchen remodeling projects

kitchen remodel south jersey

Midrange minor kitchen remodel

The midrange minor kitchen remodel mentioned in the Cost vs. Value Report assumes a “functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen,” the project calls for replacing cabinet fronts with shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts with new hardware, as well as upgrading the range and refrigerator with new energy-efficient models. Laminate countertops, sink, faucet, and flooring all receive mid-priced replacements. The walls, trim, and ceilings get a new coat of paint.

Major kitchen remodels

A midrange major kitchen remodel takes all that but ups the ante with a more functional layout, including 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets and a 3×5 foot island. An upscale major kitchen remodel spares no expense: fully customized cabinets, stone countertops, imported tile backsplash, commercial-grade cooktop and wall oven, designer faucets and filtration system, upgraded general and task lighting. 

Return on investment

The midrange minor kitchen remodel had the highest ROI, with 73.2% of costs recouped at resale. The midrange major kitchen remodel still saw South Jersey homeowners recover over half (54.0%) of their investment, while the upscale remodel yielded the lowest return of the three.

Bathroom projects

mullica hill master bath herringbone floor and vanity

Bathroom remodels

The Cost vs. Value Report bases its midrange bath remodel (5×7 bathroom) on updates to all fixtures with quality but affordable materials (porcelain-on-steel tub, ceramic tile surround, solid surface vanity top), with features you’d expect in a modern bathroom (single-lever temperature and pressure control in the shower). Its upscale bath remodel template greatly builds on that, not only in size (100 sq. ft. vs. 35 sq. ft.) but in luxuries (recessed shower caddy, body sprayers, freestanding soaker tub, electric in-floor heating, etc.). 

Additional bathrooms

The Cost vs. Value Report’s baseline bathroom addition projects call for very similar features and functionality as the remodeling projects mentioned above, but with the added preliminary steps of framing walls and extending HVAC, wiring, and plumbing. 

Return on investment

Generally speaking, bathroom projects had some of the lower ROIs listed in this year’s Cost vs. Value report, with remodels (45.1% to 54.9%) faring better than additions (41.9% to 43.1%) — running new plumbing and wiring is not a cheap date. That said, an extra half bath adds about 10% to a home’s value, while converting a half bath to a full bath adds about 9%. By extension, a brand new full bath would increase home value by 19% (National Association of Home Builders).

Master suite additions

clarksboro nj master bathroom renovation


The midrange master suite addition involves 24’x16’ of new space, with a carpeted master bathroom with a walk-in closet and dressing area, and a master bathroom with a double-bowl vanity (his and hers), freestanding soaker tub, and 3’x4’ ceramic tile shower


The upscale master bedroom suite addition is an even classier affair, with 32’x20’ of additional space with a lounge area, custom millwork, a high-end gas fireplace with a stone hearth, fully functional wet bar, custom lighting controls, master bathroom with a dual shower, freestanding tub, and separate custom vanities, and a whole lot more. 

Return on investment

A new master suite is worth the investment if you’re looking to spoil/pamper yourself for years to come, but maybe not so much if you’re on your way out. The midrange project had an ROI of 44.1%, while the upscale project had an ROI of 37.3%.

High ROI vs. Low ROI remodeling projects

The top 5 ROI remodeling projects in South Jersey (i.e. Philadelphia area) favored exterior home improvements: manufactured stone veneers (94.1%), garage door replacement (70.0%), wooden deck addition (66.6%), and vinyl siding replacement (64.0%); midrange minor kitchen remodel (73.2%) ranked second. 

Across the board, more “luxury” and “upscale” remodeling and renovations projects tended to not increase home value as much as one might hope. So is it worth it to add an upscale bathroom, totally reimagine a kitchen with state-of-the-art features and materials, or build on a gorgeous new master suite? 

Again, it depends on your long-term plans and your willingness to spend. If you’re ready to settle down and have the budget, there’s no question that significantly upgrading and beautifying your home will seriously enhance your enjoyment of the space, and in turn, your quality of life. If you’re planning on selling soon, think more surface level. But if you’re planning on staying for the long haul, think deeper about what you want and what would make you happy. 

modern kitchen open concept view from living room mullica hill nj

Getting Started on Home Interior Renovations: Form Follows Function

Residential interior design is so much more than wall paintings, vases, and area rugs (i.e. interior decorating) — it’s a philosophy. Specifically, it seeks to question how our indoor living spaces work for us, how they make us feel

Consider your day-to-day life and the rooms where you spend most of your time — are they laid out in a fashion that frustrates, or in a way that facilitates? That should always be the starting point when contemplating home interior renovations. The finer details of colors, styles, and textures are the icing on the cake!

Floor plan designs

One of the core tenets of residential interior design is the floor plan. Do your home’s rooms flow together in a way that makes sense? Are its shared spaces accessible from more than one direction? Are rooms with similar functions adjacent to one another (kitchen and dining room, for instance)? How easy is it to get to the nearest bathroom? 

While it’s important to ask yourself these things prior to buying a house, deficiencies aren’t always apparent from the outset. But before you change your floor plan, think about how you might make better use of the existing layout. For example, you might shuffle the kids’ bedrooms around or finally get around to finishing that basement

Knocking down and/or reconfiguring walls can get complicated quickly, and might become more than you bargained for if structural engineers, plumbers, or electricians need to get involved. If your home’s layout just isn’t working for your or your family’s lifestyle at all, you may be better off looking for a new house altogether.  

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj full detail

Functional living spaces

In residential interior design, form always follows function. Having a beautiful space is secondary to having a usable space, although it’s certainly desirable to have both! 

Open and inviting kitchens

Consider the example of a kitchen. Of course, a kitchen’s most important function is the preparation and cooking of food. If there are obstructions between the sink and fridge and oven (the work triangle), that’s a problem. If there is inadequate counter space to prepare food, that’s another problem. If it’s a struggle to store or locate food, utensils, appliances, or cookware, you’re going to be tempted to order out more frequently than dine in. 

But for most people, kitchens serve another essential purpose — gathering, socializing, and entertaining. That is why open concept kitchens are among homebuyers’ most coveted items. Without walls between the kitchen and dining area (and possibly living room), communication is free and easy. People are pleased to be in one another’s presence as opposed to in one another’s way. 

modern kitchen with island mullica hill nj

Rounding home interiors into form

Once you’ve arrived at a floor plan design you’re pleased with, then you can turn your attention to surrounding yourself with the features, fixtures, and decor that reinforce or support a room’s intended function. For instance, you might choose kitchen lighting that helps illuminate workstations and a color palette that is warm and inviting.

Secluded and peaceful home offices

Now consider something like a home office — focus and privacy now become paramount. You’ll want it located in an area of the house that is more isolated or removed from the action. You might tab a socially distanced corner of your upper story (with a nice view of the backyard or nature) or the basement so you can focus on work and not get distracted by play. You might invest in soundproofing to muffle foot traffic and commotion overhead (basement) or a skylight to add more natural light (upper story). 

home office south jersey

Find the heart and soul of your home’s interior

Residential interior design has too much impact on daily mood and quality of life to ignore. Whether you’re shopping for your dream home or mulling over home interior renovations, it’s important to honestly assess how each part functions — both independently and in relation to others. Find a floor plan that fits your lifestyle, then maximize its potential. 

Don’t know where to start? Ayars Complete Home Improvements has been helping South Jersey homeowners through this process for decades. 

custom millwork fireplace

4 Good Reasons to Save Interior Home Remodeling Projects for the Winter

Preparing for hibernation this winter? A little R&R is fine — and probably well-deserved — but if you sleep through the whole thing, you might miss the best time for interior home remodeling projects. Whether you’re in the market for minor touch-ups or a more major undertaking, winter can actually be quite kind to the opportunistic homeowner. Here’s why.

You have more downtime

During the spring, the outdoors demand our attention as we prepare for a busy summer. When the warm weather finally arrives, it can be a struggle to go everywhere, see everyone, and do everything we want to. Autumn is a scramble with back-to-school shopping quickly giving way to a string of holidays. When things finally settle down for the winter, the quiet can seem downright eerie. Interior home improvement can be the perfect way to fill the void. Consider what’s working for your space and what isn’t, and use that as a springboard to plan your remodeling projects.

Remodeling contractors have less volume

Quality remodeling contractors are busy year-round — repeated successes build trust, and a good reputation breeds more opportunities. However, warm weather means longer work days and more projects. That means if you wait until the spring or summer to schedule your kitchen or bathroom remodel, it make take longer for your contractor to get around to your project. Therefore, winter is the ideal time for interior renovations — your contractor will appreciate being kept out of the elements, and you’ll appreciate additional insight during the process, including the scoop on available and forthcoming specialty products that can elevate your project to the next level. 

kitchen remodel hardwood floor

Home improvement material prices increase in spring

The leaves may have fallen, but the laws of supply and demand are evergreen. Manufacturers leverage the fact that more home renovation projects occur in the spring and summer and adjust prices accordingly. On average, material costs increase 2.5 to 5 percent at the start of the spring season. Beat the rush by slating your home improvement project for the winter and reap the savings. 

Winter remodeling is a good excuse to travel

Interior remodels can be disruptive. Although most professional contractors will try to minimize their footprint as much as they can, there’s just no getting around it. Fortunately, however, the colder months often coincide with vacations and holiday getaways. South Jersey winters can be harsh at times, which is the perfect excuse for an escape. Meanwhile, your contractor will enjoy unimpeded access to an otherwise crowded workspace. This can alleviate much of the stress that a bathroom or kitchen remodel can impose on some families. When you return, much of — if not all— the work may very well be done. And you’ll be much happier and may even have a sun tan. 

Best interior home remodeling projects for the winter

  • Walls: Cooler, drier air conditions are ideal for painting. Interior crown molding and wainscoting add a refined touch to any room, especially dining rooms, living rooms, and master bedrooms. Tiled backsplashes can add a pop of color to a bathroom or kitchen while protecting walls from moisture and water damage. 
  • Floors: New carpeting, tiling, or hardwood flooring can help refresh the look and character of any room. Exposed hardwood floors have especially gained popularity with modern homeowners for their timeless appearance and ease of cleanup. 
  • Basements: A finished basement or home entertainment center is not only a great place to huddle together during the winter, but it’s also a great place to escape the heat in the summer. It’s also a terrific boost for home resale value. 
  • Kitchens and bathrooms: Build the kitchen or bathroom you’ve always dreamt about with stylish lighting, fixtures, and decor.
  • Custom Millwork: Installing new cabinets or shelving systems can both reduce clutter and uplift a room’s aesthetic.

Whatever your winter upgrade plans are, Ayars Complete Home Improvements has the staffing and experience to help you make the most of the season. Contact us for a free estimate today.

Front Door Installation South Jersey

Do You Repair Or Replace Your Old Doors?

Do you repair or replace your old doors?

If you are living in an older home, you may begin to notice the high traffic parts of your home, and noticing the entry doors are beginning to show wear and tear.  Over the years, doors can become troublesome to open and close and become increasingly drafty.  So, many homeowners are faced with the question of whether to repair or to replace the entry doors.  Although it may seem like an easier solution to repair since it’s already there, you may be surprised to know that replacement doors could end up saving you a lot of time and money down the road.

Energy efficiency is perhaps one of the best ways to save money with a door replacement.  By replacing old, drafty doors with new doors that fit properly and contain energy efficient materials, you will be able to stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter; all while using less electricity.  

Not only will you be saving money and the environment through energy efficiency, but you will also be increasing the value of your home by replacing the entry doors.  Did you know that you can actually increase the perceived value of your home by tens of thousands of dollars from adding a new entry door system?

Knock, Knock: 5 Signs That You Need a New Door

People generally spend time thinking about doors, and as a result, they’re often taken for granted.  But, doors have a lifespan, and it’s important to look for signs of wear.  Otherwise, that old door may let  more in that it keeps out.  If you notice any of the following problems, it’s time to start looking for new doors for you home.

  1. Drafts are a big sign that a door needs to be replaced. When the seals around a door age, they can shrink and/or crack.  If you’re wondering why your house gets so cold at night, check around all your doors for drafts.
  2. Squeaky hinges aren’t just annoying – they’re a cry for help. Maintenance and oiling can only go so far.  Hinges that are wearing down indicate that the door itself may not be that far behind and loose hinges mean that your door can be easily forced open.
  3. If you see visible cracks in your door, you should wait another day to start looking for a replacement. Not only do cracks let in bugs and drafts, but they mean that the old door is structurally weak, which poses a safety concern for you and your family.
  4. A door that scrapes along the floor or ground when you open or close it should be examined. Old doors can warp or sag, causing damage to your floor every time you use the door.  Patio doors that scrape in their tracks should also be checked.
  5. If you’re finding an excess amount of ants or other pests inside, they might be waltzing in right through your front door! A door that doesn’t close properly anymore can let in insects, which are not only annoying but can also cause damage or bring germs into your home.


Whether it’s your front door, back door or patio door, wear can be detrimental.  While drafts and cracks can raise the power bill, structural damage or warping can compromise the safety of your home.  If you need to replace an old lock or you need an entirely new door, we can help.  We specialize in doors, windows, and roofing in the South Jersey area.  We can assist you in finding a new door that’s secure and compliments the style of your home.

Increase Your Home Value with 8 Home Remodeling Ideas

Increase Your Home Value with 8 Home Remodeling Ideas

Did any of your home upgrades pay off when it came time to sell?  There are many things you can change and remodel in your home, but these 7 key home improvements are guaranteed to increase the value of your home.

  1. Remodeling the Kitchen

The kitchen is usually the first room in the house that needs updating.  After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  I’m not sure about you guys, but the hang out spot at my house is usually the kitchen.  Remodeling continues to have the highest budget allocation.


For many families (mine included), this room is where everyone gathers around or entertains their guests.  Holidays, birthdays, a little family get together; this room is definitely utilized the most in a home.  For this reason, you can expect to recoup 60%-120% of investments from remodeling a kitchen, as long as you stay within your budget.


  1. Adding a Bathroom

You can never go wrong with having more than one restroom in your home. This is why you can recoup 80%-130% of investments from adding another bathroom. Most homebuyers will use any room with underutilized space or take an extra room to upgrade it into a master bathroom.


  1. Reinventing a Room

This home improvement can be the most expensive upgrade to a house. Adding more square footage to your home can easily accumulate costs but it can bring you a 50%-83% return on investment.


  1. Adding Energy-Efficient Windows

Energy-efficient home improvements not only recoups 60%-90% of investments cost, but it can also reduce energy taxes as well!  When you replace your windows or doors with energy efficient models, you can receive a tax credit and 10% of costs, up to $200.00 per window.


  1. Adding a Deck

Outdoor living spaces, otherwise known as staycations, can significantly increase the value of your home.  As more homeowners are adding decks and patios to their backyards, it instantly becomes more appealing to prospective buyers when the house is for sale.


  1. Energy-Efficient Insulation

It’s about that time everyone has basic insulation installed, otherwise the cost to live in and maintain an unmodified home can be a burden.  Most potential buyers make sure to include this home improvement into their reports.


*One way to ensure your house is well insulated is with the right masonry.


  1. Basic Updates

Making basic updates to your home is a no-brainer.  Making small improvements such as fixing a leaking roof, replacing rotting wood and keeping paint fresh will always add the most value to your home.  A solid and safe home is always appealing to homebuyers.


So if you plan to remodel or make improvements to your home, remember that even the smallest of projects can make a big difference to the value of your home.  Also, focus on making your home safe and energy-efficient because it guarantees lower energy costs in the future.


  1. Flooring

Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.  Hardwood flooring is also an upsell.  Visually it’s beautiful, and gives such a natural feel to your home.

mudroom full detail garage mudroom ayars complete home improvements

Remodeling Your Garage Into A Mudroom

Talk to any avid outdoorsman or mom of active kids, and one thing would likely top their domestic wish lists: a mudroom entrance.

Unfortunately, most homeowners are reluctant to implement a handy mudroom if it means cutting into other essential spaces, such as a kitchen or a den corner.

That’s why a garage mudroom is an ideal, real-life solution. Here’s how to make it happen.

Mudroom Prerequisites for Garages

Creating a garage mudroom is a super easy way to keep your home organized and clean, especially in regions with inclement weather.

The primary advantage of having an attached garage is the direct access it provides to your home, allowing you to enter and remove the mess of dirty outdoor gear before stepping into the main living areas.

This seamless transition is the essence of a garage mudroom’s convenience and functionality.

Planning Your Garage Drop Zone

When planning a garage mudroom, consider the following elements to ensure it meets your needs effectively:

  • Location: Ideally, the mudroom should be located at the entry point most frequently used by family members. This is typically the door that leads from the garage to the house.
  • Storage Solutions: Incorporate various storage options such as built-in cubbies, lockers, shelves, bins, drawers, and hooks. Putting these in will help organize items like shoes and umbrellas. A bench for sitting while removing footwear is also a practical addition.
  • Flooring: Choose durable, easy-to-clean flooring materials that can withstand moisture and dirt. Tile, concrete, and vinyl are popular choices for mudroom floors because they are resilient and simple to maintain.
  • Drainage: If you live in an area with a lot of snow or rain, consider installing a floor drain to manage excess water that may drip off of outerwear.
  • Ventilation: Good airflow will help the space dry out more quickly and reduce odors. If possible, include a window or exhaust fan in your mudroom design.
  • Lighting: Adequate lighting is important in a mudroom. Overhead lighting, combined with task lighting, can make the space more functional and welcoming.
  • Maintenance: Choose finishes and materials that are easy to clean and maintain. Wall finishes should be able to withstand scuffs and be washable.

For those with a detached garage, the concept of a mudroom can still be applied. You can create a dedicated space just inside a side or rear entryway of your home.

This area can serve the same purpose as a mudroom in an attached garage, helping to keep the rest of your home clean and organized.

If your home does not have an existing space that can be converted into a mudroom, you might consider a small addition.

This addition doesn’t need to be large; even a modestly sized space can function effectively as a mudroom with the right design and organization solutions.

Consider Your Mudroom Storage Needs

Before planning the space, it’s important to first understand your mudroom storage needs

Will you merely be tucking away boots, or do you need to store all of the other detritus of daily life – from laundry and gardening supplies to sporting gear?

Likely, you’ll need the latter, which is why a garage mudroom makeover is a savvy choice for many homeowners.

They’re comparatively large in square footage just waiting to be put to use in a meaningful way. Even better?  Keeping recreational items in your garage helps contain clutter outside of your immediate living space.

Garage Mudroom Ideas for Storage: Sorting Your Stuff

Once you’ve assessed your space and cleaned it out, it’s time to choose tidy storage solutions for your belongings.

Going with one type of storage mechanism misses the point entirely: different types of goods require different forms of storage.

For example, coats, jackets, and backpacks can be inexpensively kept off the floor through the simple addition of a shelf, a cabinet, or wall hooks to hang on.

Just make sure to keep them at a height that’s easily accessible for smaller children.  This also helps you maximize vertical space – a smart move on the part of any space-challenged homeowner.

Mounted shelving is another way to use your walls; this is the perfect way to tuck away seasonal gear, such as hats, gloves, and scarves.

Other items, such as umbrellas and soccer cleats, may not be used as frequently and can be tucked away in enclosed storage spaces, such as heavy-duty cabinets.

Just remember to keep like with like and to label everything.  A truly functional mudroom is well-organized, accessible, and easy to maintain.

Some families also find it useful to designate baskets or storage closets for each family member.  This way they’ll know where to look before turning to you for help finding their tennis racquet.

After all, you could probably live without ever again hearing the words, “Mom, I can’t find my lacrosse stick/ski boots/fishing pole!”

Think Up … and Down for Floor Space

We’ve already established the importance of using vertical space, but don’t forget about your floors.

When planning a garage mudroom, it’s important to select flooring that can hold up to everyday wear and tear – particularly since it will be used four seasons out of the year, and subjected to everything from sand and gravel to snow and ice.

Make sure it can be mopped with ease and is relatively scratch-proof (we recommend tile or vinyl plank flooring).

Speaking of down, don’t forget places for people to sit.  If there is no place to stop and remove footwear, your home’s inhabitants will inevitably make their way into your house with their shoes on, defeating the purpose of your mudroom.

A simple bench works fine, although choosing one with storage functionality adds an element of usefulness.

Clean Up on Your Garage Mudroom Idea with Ayars

Do you have the desire to create a garage mudroom but your picture is still a little muddy? Let the team at Ayars help sort it out, and you’ll be on your way to living a cleaner, more clutter-free life.

How To Begin A Living Room Remodel

How to Begin a Living Room Remodel


Renovating your living room:

It’s exciting, but it can be a bit overwhelming, too. Where should you start? How much can you afford to spend? How do you know whether that contractor with the impressive portfolio will really show up when he’s supposed to? And what if the sofa that looks so gorgeous on the showroom floor makes your own house resemble a bordello? Relax. We’re here to make it simpler for you. Follow our step-by-step guide to renovation, and get ready to kick back in a new living room that suits your needs, your style and your budget.

Research and Plan

One of the keys to a successful renovation is plenty of forethought, knowledge and information — especially if you’re making structural changes, or working with several professionals and a big budget. Take your time to plan before you begin, so that you are less likely to have regrets when you are finished. “Designing a room or a remodeling project is a journey or a process,” says interior designer Jamie Vautour, “and it takes time to develop ideas and do things right. In other words, you need to know your destination and how you plan to get there.”

Consider Your Lifestyle

“To start,” says interior designer Jamie Vautour, “try to envision how you see yourself and your family getting the most use out of the space. Will the space be used for parties? Intimate gatherings? Do you want or need one large seating area or several different seating groups?”

Think long-term. Remember to plan not only for this stage of your life, but for the next phases, as well. If you’re newlyweds planning to have children in a few years, take those future kids into account when planning your renovation, so that you don’t have to redo everything. Ask people who already have kids what works in real life and what doesn’t; what they wish they had in their living rooms; what has caused safety issues or got broken so many times it had to be thrown away.

On the other hand, if you have older parents (or are a senior yourself), be sure to design your space so that it is safe and comfortable for yourself and your guests as the years go by.

Consult the Pros

Once you have a sense of what functions you want your new living room to serve, gather lots of information. There are unlimited resources online alone.  If you need any help figuring out which websites to visit, please feel free to ask your designer.  They would love to help you out with that.


And don’t forget to talk to real people. Ask your friends and neighbors to recommend local professionals, and be sure to inquire as to whether there are any local pros you should steer clear of. Find out what other people are glad they included in their renovations, and what wasn’t worth the money.

Determine Your Living Room Needs

Before you begin your living room remodel, think about what you need to lounge, entertain and work.

Before you can start planning your renovation, you need to know what your ultimate goal for your remodeled space is:

  • Are you renovating your living room mostly to enlarge it?
  • Are you remodeling to update it?
  • Are you renovating to sell your home down the line?
  • How do you plan to enjoy your living room day in and day out, year after year?

“Ultimately,” says interior designer Jamie Vautour, owner of General Assembly, “the best way to identify what is going to work best for your family is to think about how you really live. Are you the type of people who like to spend a lot of time together watching movies around a TV? In that case, make sure it’s comfortable to watch. On the other hand,” she says, “if you spend most of your time reading, you might want to find a way to hide the TV when it’s not in use.”

If you are going to use your living room for entertaining, think about what types of gatherings you usually host. Do you like to invite one or two other couples for a quiet night of wine and cheese in front of the fireplace? Or throw big stand-up fetes where everyone mixes and mingles? For seated events, pick large, cushy upholstery; for stand-up shindigs, keep the chairs and couches smaller-scale to leave as much room as possible for moving around. If you entertain formally, be sure you have storage space for less-fancy items such as your kids’ toys and your stacks of magazines, so that you can stash them when company comes. And if your events tend to be boisterous and messy, you’re going to want couches and carpets that are stain resistant.

Top Living Room Design Styles

Think about what secondary functions your space has to serve. Is your living room going to be just a living room, or will it be a living room and office? “More and more,” says interior designer Jamie Vautour, “we are combining rooms that used to be separate, such as a living room that doubles as a home office or a music room. If your home has limited space, designing the living room so that it can serve multiple functions is invaluable.”

Make a list of everything you want to do in the space, so that you can plan accordingly. If you need to put your computer and printer in the living room, you’ll require ample electrical outlets, and you might want an armoire in which to hide the electronics when it’s quitting time. If the living room will double as your children’s playroom, make sure your space planning includes toy storage and furniture that won’t be ruined if someone spills a juice box.

If you need the space to do double duty as a guest room, make sure you budget and plan not only for a pullout sofa, but also for a coffee table that’s easy to move away so that you can actually open up that sofa when guests come to spend the night.

Identify Your Living Room Style

Do you consider a sleek, modern living room sexy or do you think minimalism looks cold and forbidding?  Does an eclectic assemblage of treasures from around the world feel exotic and exciting to you or is it just jumbled mess?  There’s no right answer to these questions, but finding the answers (and the styles) that are right for you is one of the most important things you’ll do when planning your living room renovation.

Take some time to look around you – at your own home, at your friends’ homes, at the rooms’ design pros put together – and find the style that resonates.  Then you can put your own twists on the style to create a living room that reflects your personality and individuality.

Here’s how:

Look At Your Home

If you’re embarking on a renovation, you clearly want to change some things about your current space, but there are probably elements that you do like.  What are they?  Think about which room in the house is your favorite, and why:  Is it the bedroom, because you love its romantic floral wallpaper?  Do you love the kitchen you redid last year, because it’s sleek and industrial?  When you’ve identified the elements that make you feel most at home, you can incorporate them into your new living room.

Do Some Design Research

Gather an armload of decorating magazines, and rip out any pages that make you linger.  Then analyze:  What do the pictures you love have in common?  Is it a minimalist sensibility?  A Victorian vibe?  A riot color?  A monochromatic palette?

When you can identify the elements you are drawn to, be sure to make note of what unites them.  That consistent element is probably the key to your personal style.

Get Out of the House

“Open your eyes to the details around you,” says interior designer Jamie Vautour, owner of Maison D’OR Interiors.  Not just on the Internet and TV, but in real life.  Go to new restaurants.  Visit museums you’ve never been to.  Take a tour of a local historical mansion.  “All of these places have design elements that you might want to incorporate into your living room redesign,” Vautour notes.

Do you like the rococo room at your local historical preservation society?  You may not want to go quite as over-the-top with the gilding and carving as folks did 200 years ago, but maybe a touch of gold leaf on a lamp would appeal to you.  That shiny new eatery downtown may be too sleek to live in day after day, but perhaps the super-cool lighting fixture you noticed while waiting for your appetizers would look great in your house.

Eliminate the Negative

And pay attention to the restaurants you’ve walked past after peering in the window because you thought it looked uninviting, and the magazine pages you’ve flipped quickly while thumbing through those magazines because you just hated them.  What turns you off again and again?  Distressed-finish furniture?  Too much ornamentation?  Don’t let them clutter your thoughts.  You may not know what you like yet, but you certainly know what you don’t like.

Keep or Toss: 4 Questions to Help You Declutter Your Living Space

Do you want to get rid of everything you own and start from scratch? Or do you want to incorporate some favorite pieces from your current living room into your new one? Or, perhaps, you wish you could have a clean design slate, but have to retain as much as you can in the interest of your budget. Whatever the answer, here are some smart ways to triage your current living room belongings. Ask yourself the following questions.

Does It Work in the Space?

“I love considering existing pieces as a source in my shopping,” say interior designer Jamie Vautour.  “But I look at what someone has with the same critical eye as when looking for new items.”  She suggests looking at a piece, whether already owned or not, through the following criteria:  First, is it the right shape and size, and second, is it the right style?

“You have to be fairly tough and non-emotional in saying goodbye to pieces that really won’t work in your design,” Vautour says, “but if you feel you must use a piece for sentimental reasons, then at least be sure to consider it upfront so that your other selections make that piece feel more relevant rather than left over.

Is It Valuable?

If you can’t stand that $20,000 Biedermeier chest, you should have to live with it, and you can have a reputable antiques dealer resell it for you.  But if something is valuable and you like it well enough, this twice about swapping it out just for the sake of having something new.  “A practical way to decide whether to keep something based on value is to research it to the best of your ability – see what it would sell for on eBay or Craigslist,” says interior designer Jamie Vautour.  “If the value of the object or furniture is low, then get rid of it and upgrade.”

Do You Love It?

That chair that you fell in love with at a chic furniture store.  The rug you shipped back from your Moroccan vacation.  The throw pillow that always makes you smile.  If there’s something in your living room that you absolutely adore, hold on to it.  Incorporating things that are meaningful to you is what will make your new living room feel like home.


Can You Tweak It?

If you love the shape of your almost-new sofa but hate the color, consider having it reupholstered.  If the milk-paint finish on your rustic coffee table won’t work with your more sophisticated design plans, maybe you can have it sanded and refinished in a glossy cherry or mahogany.  “Older tables, chests or any case good can be brought back to life with new lamps, mirrors or a coat of paint,” says interior designer Jamie Vaultour.  “And upholstered pieces can easily be updated with a new fabric.”

Ultimately, these changes are worthwhile only if you love the shape of the piece, or if it’s in the otherwise-excellent condition.  If you were never that crazy about that coffee table, or if the springs on the couch are shot, it may be better (easier, snazzier and more economical) to shop for something new.

Budgeting Your Living Room Remodel

So, just how much is that living room renovation going to cost?  The answer to that question ranges from a few thousand dollars for a paint job and new flooring to a few hundred thousand dollars for major construction and magazine-worthy interior design.  But whether you are planning to give your space a minor facelift or a major overhaul, it’s important t know how much things are going to cost before the first demolition sledgehammer is swung.  Otherwise, you could run out of money midway through the project.

To start honing in on a realistic budget for the changes you have in mind, go back to the wish list you’ve created for your renovation and prioritize it into “musts,” “maybes” and “someday down the line.”  Then do some research about how much each element – or at least the “musts”- might cost.

Consult the Pros

To find realistic numbers for architecture, construction and design services, talk to a few professionals you might consider working with.  Share your ideas for the project and ask them how much their service for such a plan might run and how much you can expect to spend on materials and subcontractors’ work, as well.  Remember that after you’ve paid your designer to find the perfect fabric for your sofa, you’ll have to pay for the fabric as well as the upholsterer’s time and talent.  Talk to a few different pros so that you have a sense of how prices might vary.

Remember the Rugs

As for decoration, says interior designer Jamie Vautour, “Create a spreadsheet and prioritize the ‘must-have’ items, like the sofa that is an investment or the chandelier you’ve been coveting, and then work around that.  And be sure to put in a contingency line item in for those amazing finds or extras you for